General Electric use Digital Twins and HoloLens to "talk to turbines"

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Microsoft’s efforts to make HoloLens a productivity platform appears to be gathering momentum, with the latest company to adopt the technology being industrial technology provider General Electric.

At the 2016 GE Minds + Machines conference held recently Colin Parris, the vice president of GE Software Research showed off how the Microsoft HoloLens could help the company “talk” to their machines and service malfunctioning equipment such as industrial steam turbines.

The feature use a GE technology called “digital twins”, which are digital replicas of the machines they sell packed with data such as potential parts breakdowns, financial forecasts and the best way to fix problems, and which can use real operational data to predict which parts are likely in need of servicing.

Potential customers can “speak” directly to the digital twin and ask it questions about its performance and potential issues, and receive natural language answers back.

Using the HoloLens GE and its customers can use augmented reality to look inside those machines without having to actually touch them.


“This is happening now,” said Parris who works in Niskayuna after he talked to a digital twin of a steam turbine at a customer site in Southern California.  The Hololens allowed him to open up the turbine and look at the parts – and see exactly which part may need replacing.

“What you saw was an example of the human mind working with the mind of a machine.”

Parris noted HoloLens had wide-ranging applications including helping with factory design, and could help teach workers how to assemble parts even before they ever step on a factory floor.

The HoloLens is now available in USA, Canada, Australia, Ireland, France, Germany, New Zealand, and the UK. Read more about its availability here.

More about the topics: augmented reality, General Electric, hololens